Graduating with style: Why seniors should be allowed to design their graduation caps

Students would be able to express their individuality through decorating graduation caps, so why not allow them to?


Photo by Sophia Novelo

Decorating graduation caps would allow students to embrace their creative side.

The momentous event of graduation draws near, and with it comes a question that students have been asking for many years: should seniors be able to decorate their graduation caps? In short, yes they should.
“I think seniors should be able to decorate their graduation caps because it’s a fun craft to do with their parents or grandparents, and it also gives everyone a chance to express themselves creatively and show what matters to them,” senior Olivia Boisvert said.
Decorating caps is a simple, harmless, and creative way for seniors to express themselves during graduation. The caps can be decorated to show what college students plan to attend, what their interests or hobbies are, or simply what makes them unique. This is a fantastic opportunity for student self-expression, and it would be strange for a school such as Mission Hills High that prides itself on its students’ individuality to restrict it.
“How is decorating a grad cap going to hurt students or staff? The MHHS administration is obsessed with promoting kindness and responsibility, so how better to show their faith in students than by allowing them to express themselves more fully. And with COVID-19 changes that allow for a drive-thru option, the majority of families wouldn’t see anybody but their kid, whose grad caps they would have been able to ‘OK’ already. It’s ridiculous to try and limit such minimal self-expression in an already deeply personal event,” senior Jay Costales said.
After a tumultuous senior year with many schedule changes and a pandemic blocking students, this small display could be a high point for the class of 2021. The previous class was given this opportunity in their drive-through graduation, so it would be great if another senior class that’s final year was affected by the pandemic could have this too.
“I think the ability for seniors to decorate their caps is a great way to signify our transition beyond high school: a meaningful representation of loosening the boundaries our school has on us as students as we become integrated into society. Not only that, it is a fun way to end such a monumental point in our lives. However, I completely understand the concerns our school has. It is a risky idea to give students such creative liberty. Still, after such a disappointing year, it’s the least they could do,” senior Paige Sundelius said.
Regardless, there’s a reason why this tradition will be advised against this year. In last year’s graduation, students were unable to gather, so MHHS opted to promote student individuality. Because of this, they allowed cap decoration, as it was in tandem with the theme. This year, however, we celebrate unity, and cap decoration is in conflict with this meaning.
“Besides the cardinal cap and gown, everyone already is wearing different graduation regalia ranging from tassels to chords to stoles. As long as there are some general guidelines regarding what can and can’t be on the cap, I don’t really see the reason in not allowing students to decorate their cap. I think there would be a unified sense of expression and creativity should students be allowed to decorate their own cap” senior Sara Huffman said.
“At this time we are requesting that all seniors not decorate their caps. What occurred last year was more of a focus of the individual and their achievements as they were not able to return together as a graduating class. Something that you and your classmates have been able to achieve this year. While we can appreciate everything that our students have gone through, the focus for the day this year is unity. You have accomplished this together and we would like to recognize all of you as ONE,” Principal Cliff Mitchell said.
Nonetheless, the argument still stands that seniors should be allowed to decorate their caps. The chance for seniors to express themselves makes far more sense in a year marked by distance and separation than a recognition of class unity. Graduation celebrates students’ journeys through grades K-12, and this would’ve been a (mostly) harmless, final way to celebrate their academic competency creatively. Regardless, seniors will still be able to toss their caps and welcome the next stage in their lives, even if said caps aren’t decorated.